Instagram Inspiration: When I was Cool

Instagram can either facilitate extreme cases of procrastination or serve as an immense source of inspiration.

A great account does both.

According to absolutely zero research on my behalf save for a pathetic polling among my own friends, 50% of our Instagram scrolling is done from a horizontal surface such as the couch or bed, and 35% of that is done in the mornings while trying to decide if we will actually attend the 7:30 AM yoga class we’re signed up for, or if we will be early to work, or when we can’t find the strength to escape the burrito-y confines of our blankets just yet. This means the feeds we follow have the ability to dictate the direction of our day.

A killer ‘gram viewed through that blurry, one-eyed pirate squint can be the proverbial “Right Side of the Bed” come to life.

I often get called out for my morning “likes.” My creepy friends who follow their friends’ activity (as opposed to caring only about their own digital currency like me and other narcissists, I suppose) often make fun of the deluge of lighthouses, sunrises and sailboats I double-tap before brushing my teeth. I’ve also been known to heart a bunch of flat-faced cats.

But when I need a burst of something slightly left-of-center, a bit of surreality, fashion, nostalgia, and the type of artsy-ness that I’m not sure I always totally “get” but that I definitely appreciate — if only from a baseline aesthetic opinion — I check out When I Was Cool.

The account is a mix of forgotten ads, European editorials and runways that existed prior to the immediacy of online archives. It’s tinged with a sort of fetishist-sexuality, but in that way fashion often is, allowing it to exist in the spirit of a photographer’s gallery without any need for that NSFW warning. It is — per the word used in the account’s own name — cool.

And in order to allow you to get your own inspiration on (you can sample their account from the slideshow above, btw) I highly and humbly suggest you follow them too.

…Then tell me what accounts you follow for inspiration so I can copy you and we can like the same things.


[ @WhenIWasCool; Images via the When I Was Cool account ]

  • everything you said about how people use instagram is 100% true. i literally only use it in bed every morning. sorry to anyone who has gotten a like from me at 6:15 am!

  • Bell

    If you like WhenIWasCool you’ll dig @getwhet and @theacademynewyork

    • Amelia Diamond

      Just started following both of these, thank you!!!

  • MSCFBeeches

    So I randomly started following this account @EXCEPTIoNAL_ last night. It’s a lot of majority black fashion/clothes, slightly punk/emo, with the occasional cat appearance for preciousness. Love it.

  • Definitely did NOT need this- but grateful for it! My guilty infinite scroll pleasure in Stone Fox Bride, the engagement stories make me weep on the reg.

    Warm Regards,

    • Amelia Diamond

      love their account

  • Totally agree, great article! Thanks 🙂

  • Vicky

    I’ve been following this one I love her aesthetics…

    • Amelia Diamond

      ooo so prettttyy

  • KFB

    Loving these: @flyartproductions, @kalen_hollomon, @danielkrieger, @somewhereiwouldliketolive.

  • Yes! I’ve been following @whenIwascool for a while now and I must say: right up my alley. Just really amazing fashion images from the decades when fashion wasn’t try to prove anything or, at the very least, be overly pretentious about its role in a larger society. Influence just kind of happened.

    Occasionally I head on over to the “following” section to see what people are liking, and should you be the The ‘Gram at the same time, Amelia Diamond, I am pretty sure 9/10 times the pictures you like are from some official Nantucket tourism page or of sunburned folks, waving from a beached Jeep. I really love you.

  • Love the writing again :)! very nice photographs.

  • Excellent!! Totally hooked on it. Thanks MR for the tip!!

  • Vintage ads are inspiring. I also love the faded paint on a side of a brick building, advertising some small industrial company from decades ago. It instantly makes me imagine what the world was like when these letters were painted. Who painted them? What was the business owner like? Where did he go for lunch?

  • Leoma

    Super cool! Have a look at the mush pit (themushpit) also great!

  • I follow twins @tracianne and @trasienne for inspiration. Also @henrybae is minimalist perfection!

    ROUGH & TOUGH☯ // I`m on Bloglovin! // IG: @jiaachacruz:disqus

  • annabridget

    Great post!

    Some of my favorite instagram accounts to follow:

    + @penheartspaper

    + @moody_mind

    + @wolfcubwolfcub

    + @gabrielleassaf


  • Celeste

    I love bessnyc4 and charlottelynggaard_dk

  • Have you ever heared of @richkidsofinstagram? This account is posting pics of the richest of the rich (hashtag #famous I suppose).
    Or food Instas like @goodfoodclub are a big inspiration too!

  • marissarynn

    sooo many good insta accounts @petrafcollins, @prettypukefool, @ideabooksltd @lecoledesfemme, @70sbabes, @lafemmemervielleuseinvisible, @kavaberries to name some of my favs…